Why 'Right Person, Wrong Time' Might Not Be Real

Romance movies and novels have subtly yet firmly ingrained a lot of clichés in our minds. From lifelong best friends who finally end up together (after dating other people for most of their lives) to people really falling in love at first sight, the portrayals are comforting. They leave us feeling soothed and hopeful that similar things can happen to us, too.

And while one cannot in any way write off that possibility, there are some clichés that keep us stuck in the past or from living out our future — one of which is the notion of "right person, wrong time." Do you remember hitting it off wonderfully with a person you just met, so much so that you actually thought they were the one for you? Only to realize that they were not in a place to commit right now because of outside circumstances like a career, heartbreak from a previous relationship, or just different priorities? Did you tell yourself that they were the right person, but you just met at the wrong time? And that if both of you were to meet five years down the line, the timing would be exactly right? If you did, you're not alone. There are lots of people with heartbreaking stories of a similar nature. 

Is there any truth to this notion? Does believing in "right person, wrong time" do us any good in the long run?

'Right person, wrong time' might just be something we say to comfort ourselves

Placing importance on the concept of "right person, wrong time," by definition, puts most of the onus on the uncontrollable factor of time and none, if not any, on ourselves. Relationship enthusiast Caitlin Killoren argues in Relish that when you meet the right person, nothing (not even previous heartbreak or career choices) should stop the two of you from being together. In fact, both people should be able to support each other through those challenges. The famous cliché could also be masking other underlying issues like fear of intimacy or commitment problems, both of which could very well mean the person you met, was in fact, the wrong person for you.

We can't change the past and we certainly can't see the future. How can we know that someone who seemed a perfect fit for us but isn't really in the right place to start a relationship, would even get there in a few years' time? Or that we would've been a perfect fit for them two years ago?

Dating coach Matthew Hussey discusses in a YouTube video how all of us make the best decisions we can based on the information we have for ourselves at any given point in time, and that we change and evolve as people with that information. So, unless we have a time machine, there's no way to predict how someone would change to fit us better in the future.

What does believing in this cliché do to us and how can we move on?

Believing in the notion of "right person, wrong time" might make you want to force a relationship with someone who doesn't share similar values or priorities as you, or even make you stay in a bad relationship in the hopes that things will change in the future. Accepting responsibility for why you can't commit to a relationship at this juncture or why the person you think is the right one for you can't seem to say okay to a union with you, will go a long way in you understanding the real reasons. 

Not to mention that it will help you stop pining over a lost love or opportunity and move on to a more healthier space where you're an active participant curating your own course. Mental health counselor Juliann King told mindbodygreen that viewing relationships from a place of "right person, wrong time" can actually be due to anxious or avoidant attachment styles. "Moving to approaching connections from a more secure place may completely get rid of the idea of the right person, wrong time," she explained. King also believes that there is more than one "right person" out there for you. 

Instead of wasting time thinking about someone who's definitely not "the one," you can work on making yourself happy till the right one does come along. And when they do, time is not going to be a problem.